Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 011316 Contents 14 • 01.13.2016
David Bowie, whose incomparable sound and chameleon-
like ability to reinvent himself made him a pop music
fixture for more than four decades, has died. He was 69.
Bowie died Sunday after an 18-month battle with cancer, his
publicist Steve Martin told CNN.
“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family
after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of
you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s
privacy during their time of grief,” said a statement posted on
his official social media accounts.
Neither his publicist nor the statement
elaborated on what kind of cancer the singer
Bowie’s death has been the regular subject
of Internet hoaxes for the last several years. So
the news came as a shock to fans and industry
insiders when it was confirmed.
“Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be
offline for a while. Love to all,” his son, “Moon”
film director Duncan Jones, tweeted.
Duncan Jones’ mother, Bowie’s first wife,
Angela, was sequestered on the UK “Celebrity
Big Brother.” Producers posted Monday that she
had been informed of his death off-camera and
had chosen to stay on the show.
Bowie’s wife of 24 years, fashion model Iman,
had not released a statement as of Monday
morning. On Friday she retweeted several
birthday wishes to her husband.
British Prime Minister David Cameron
expressed his sorrow to the press.
“Genius is an overused word but I think musically, creatively,
artistically, David Bowie was a genius,” he said. “He was a
master of reinvention and one of the things that’s so incredible
is almost all his reinventions were incredible successes and
worked brilliantly and so we mourn the loss of a great talent.”
From a mop-topped unknown named David Jones, to his
space-alien alter ego “Ziggy Stardust,” to his dapper departure
as the soul-influenced Thin White Duke, Bowie married music
and fashion in a way few artists have been able to master.
He was theatrical, he was flamboyant, he was without parallel
in his showmanship.
His albums, especially after his 1972 breakthrough “Ziggy
Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” were treated as events.
His songs, including “Changes,” “Fame,” “Heroes” and “Modern
Love,” were anthemic hits, played constantly on the radio and
inspiring generations of musicians.
With a voice that soared from a baritone to
a falsetto, he spoke of carrying on against the
odds. Of the terror in knowing what the world is
about. Of turning and facing the strange.
His songs were a salve for the alienated and
the misfits of the world.
Bowie had just released his latest album,
“Blackstar,” on Friday, his 69th birthday. It shot
to No. 1 on the iTunes chart in the UK and No.
2 in the United States, underscoring his appeal
even after decades in the music business.
Like his past releases, the work -- generally
praised by music critics -- defied genres. The
influential music publication NME called
it an amalgamation of “warped showtunes,
skronking industrial rock, soulful balladeering,
airy folk-pop, even hip-hop.”
That in a nutshell was Bowie: There wasn’t a
musical style he didn’t dabble in -- and indelibly
leave his mark upon.
Since his breakthrough with 1972’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy
Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” Bowie’s reach was eclectic:
glam rock, prog rock, pop rock, electronic rock.
And the results? Electric. To the tune of more than 130 million
Though he didn’t have his first No. 1 single in the United States
until “Fame” in 1975, he’d already been making a mark with
heavily played singles, including “Space Oddity,” “Changes,”
“Suffragette City,” “Rebel Rebel” and his first Top 40 hit, 1975’s
After that, he was almost as present on the singles charts
as the album charts, with hits such as “Golden Years,” “Under
Pressure” (with Queen), “Let’s Dance” (another No. 1), “Blue
Jean” and “Never Let Me Down.”
“David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so
fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime,” tweeted
rapper Kanye West, as news of Bowie’s death made the rounds.
He was born David Jones, to a waitress and a nightclub owner
in South London on January 8, 1947.
Though he began his musical life with his birth name, riding
the mod wave of the mid-1960s, he changed to “Bowie” to avoid
confusion with Davy Jones, the lead singer of the Monkees, who
was enjoying serious pop success at the time.
That reinvention was the first of many. And his timing was
He released his song about a doomed astronaut, “Space
Oddity,” just days before the 1969 moon landing.
Four years later he killed off his most famous creation,
the other-worldly “Ziggy Stardust,” just at the point where it
threatened to overwhelm him.
He then transformed into the Thin White Duke, a cocksure
but coked-out mad aristrocrat. While Ziggy was all arena rock,
the Duke was chilled soul. While Ziggy gave him “Space Oddity,”
the Duke gave him yet another timeless classic, “Fame,” a song
co-written with John Lennon, one of his many admirers.
With Bowie, it was difficult to separate art from reality.
And as the drug-taking took its toll, he holed up in Berlin and
recorded the groundbreaking “Berlin” trilogy: “Low,” “ ‘Heroes’
“ and “Lodger.” (The quotation marks around “ ‘Heroes’ “ were a
deliberate ironic touch.)
Musically, he kept one foot in the avant garde. On the
song “Heroes,” he half-sings, half-screams, with some of the
david Bowie, master oF
reinvention, is dead at 69
Saeed Ahmed, Todd Leopold, Joe Sutton
With a voice
he spoke of
Links Archive SFGN 010616 SFGN 012016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page